Chafee made undisclosed Texas speech amid pension drama

From my newly updated pension story on, an interesting wrinkle:

Prior to the meeting’s start Raimondo was seen conferring with Licht, a powerful figure in the Chafee administration and another senior figure in the pension talks. Licht also confirmed that Chafee remained out of state after giving a speech in Texas on Tuesday, but said he expected the governor to return to Rhode Island by late Wednesday morning.

Licht said he spoke to Chafee several times Tuesday and into the evening about the progress of the talks. “Governor Chafee is involved completely,” Licht said. “He is fully informed. We talk to him all the time. He doesn’t sit in on the meetings, but we’re talking to him.”

Eagle-eyed Twitter users quickly discovered the online invitation to Chafee’s Texas speech, which said the free event was “open to the public.” That would contradict the official gubernatorial schedule Chafee’s office released for Tuesday, which said he had no public events scheduled.

Chafee spokeswoman Faye Zuckerman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from, but when asked about it by AP reporter David Klepper, she told him: “Is this a story?”

Ironically, Chafee’s reported remarks in Texas included a mention of the problems he thinks are caused by senators constantly leaving Washington to see their constituents. “But that’s the reality, you want to be seen in your home district,” the Rhode Island governor told the Texas crowd.

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